Attiyah, Abdullah clinch first SSS
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA QATAR’S Nasser bin Saleh al Attiyah scorched through the first super special stage to put his Toyota Hilux on the top in the Sealine Cross-Country Rally.
Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort and Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah also led their respective bike and quad categories after the 4.2km SSS held near the Sealine Beach Resort, south of Doha, on Tuesday afternoon.
Attiyah and co-driver Lucas Cruz Senra set the fastest time by 8.7 seconds in the car category with an Overdrive Racing Toyota Hilux and will lead the rest of the 25-car field into the Qatar desert on Wednesday morning.
Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed al Rajhi set the second fastest time with his Mini All4 Racing and Czech driver Miroslav Zapletal was third in a BMW X3 CC. Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez was fourth and the UAE’s Khalifa al Mutaiwei finished fifth.
“It was nice to win the stage and ensure that I have a clean track for the start of the first important stage tomorrow,” said Attiyah. “But we all know that the real rally starts with that first desert stage on Wednesday.” Spaniard Joan Barreda Bort recorded the quickest time in the motorcycle section on his Husqvarna TE 449 RR, with Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues and Spain’s Marc Coma rounding off the top three places. Qatar’s Adel Hussein Abdullah was the quickest of the 11 quads on the impressive international entry list, with the UAE duo of Obaid al Kitbe and Atif al Zarouni in second and third positions.
Blustery conditions and reduced visibility were a factor for the rally caravan on Tuesday morning, but the weather had improved somewhat when the first of the bike riders took to the special stage.
To prevent riders hanging back on the super special stage in a bid to improve their starting position for the first of the loop stages through the desert, FIM officials imposed a ruling that the fastest 10 riders could choose their starting order – a system similar to the one now used in the FIA World Rally Championship. Cars ran in reverse order with the fastest on the stage taking pole position for the first of the desert stages on Wednesday.
Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues, the reigning FIM world crosscountry champion, led the 40 bike and quad riders and 25 cars into the short super special stage and posted the target time of 2m 46.4s, which was sufficient to confirm the second fastest time in his category.
Tomorrow, competitors tackle the first 330.51km loop stage through the southern extremities of Qatar. The first bike is set to start the varied stage – 3.42km from the bivouac - at 06.00hrs, with the first car joining the competition at 07.15hrs. A repeat of the 3.42km liaison will guide competitors back to the Sealine campsite.
The stage crosses dry lakebeds, gravel tracks, sandy terrain and small dunes, before passing close to the sea on its return to the bivouac.
A series of tricky dunes brings competitors to the stage finish. There will be three passage controls with a refuelling point for the bikes at PC2.
POSITIONS AFTER SSS (TUESDAY) CCAARRSS 1. Nasser bin Saleh al Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Toyota Hilux 2m 56.0s 2. Yazeed al Rajhi (KSA)/Filipe Palmeiro (PRT) Mini All4 Racing 3m 04.7s 3. Miroslav Zapletal (CZE)/Miloslav Janacek (CZE) BMW X3 CC 3m 08.3s 4. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Bernardo Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 3m 12.4s 5. Khalifa al Mutaiwei (UAE)/Andreas Schulz (DEU) Mini All4 Racing 3m 15.9s 6. Faisal al Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Toyota HiLux 3m 18.8s 7. Jean-Louis Schlesser (FRA)/Konstantin Zlitstov (RUS) Schlesser Original 3m 19.8s 8. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov (RUS) G-Force Proto 3m 23.2s 9. Mubarak al Hajri (QAT)/Arif Yousef Mohammed (UAE) Chevrolet Pick UP 3m 23.3s 10. Patrick Sireyjol (FRA)/Francois-Xavier Beguin (BEL) SMG Buggy 3m 25.6s 11. Boris Gadasin (RUS)/Dan Shchemel (RUS) GForce Proto 3m 26.1s 12. Ilya Kusnetsov (RUS)/Roman Elagin (RUS) BMW X3 CC 3m 39.9s BBIKKEESS 1. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 2m 45.9s 2. Helder Rodrigues (PRT) Yamaha YZ 450 2m 46.4s 3. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 2m 47.2s 4. Jakub Przygonski (POL) KTM 450 Rally 2m 50.0s 5. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM Rally Replica 2m 51.2s 6. Jordi Viladoms (ESP) KTM 450 Rally Replica 2m 53.6s 7. Alessandro Botturi (ITA) TM Rally 450 2m 54.1s 8. Sean Gaugain (ZAF) Honda CRF 450 X 2m 54.4s 9. Paulo Goncalves (PRT) Husqvarna TE 449 RR 2m 54.5s 10. David Casteu (FRA) Yamaha 450 YZ 2m 56.8s QUUAADDSS 1. Adel Hussein Abdullah (QAT) KTM 525 3m 11.9s 2. Obaid al Kitbe (UAE) Honda TRX 700 XX 3m 17.0s 3. Atif Al-Zarouni (UAE) Honda 450 3m 19.0s, etc